If you’re lucky enough to be in the mountains, you’re lucky enough!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Peak Bagging - Green Mountain

Decided to head up to Boulder on Sunday for a run with Tim - run some of his "slow" miles while he is recovering from last week's 50 miler.  Here was a brief overview of the emails concerning the run:
Steve: what are you thinking about tomorrow?
Tim: got an adventure planned for you guys  {red flag}
Steve: ?
Tim: 3 hours easy pace with amazing trails and views
 ~ an hour later
Tim: uh, by the way, the run has about 4000 feet of climb, just so you know {red flag confirmed}

We knew what we were getting into, so we were up at the crack of dawn and headed for Boulder! 
Kathleen and Tim - Mesa Trail

Headed out from Tim's place for some miles before the day's main attraction - Green Mountain.  Rolled out on some nice connector trails until catching Mesa Trail for the cruise over to Chatauqua Park.  It was an awesome, sunny morning, especially considering the low clouds, cool temps, and drizzle we left behind in Colorado Springs - what a difference 90 miles makes!
Steve rolls across Mesa Trail

Mesa Trail is some very nice running, including sections to the South that we had run previously.  There is great scenery with lots of high meadows full of wildflowers and a stunning  skyline to the west as you roll along the base of the Boulder mountains.
Surveying the Flatirons

Once we arrived at Chatauqua, it was time to survey the real work ahead.  With around 5 miles of climbing/rolling terrain to soften up the muscles, the serious business of the day loomed ahead.  From the scenic view of the Flatirons above, we would connect through the upper meadow over to the base of Green Mountain.
Looking north past Flagstaff to Mt Sanitas
Ground Zero - The Official start to Green Mountain

Starting up Green, the "uh, by the way.." portion of the email hit full on.  The route we took up Green was just over two miles with 2400' climb - stout no matter how you stack it up.  Time to get to work!!
Some of the early "trail" ascending Green Mtn
Looking out across Boulder from part of the way up

While we are accustomed to climbing steep terrain, there is always something "extra special" when climbing new trails and not knowing when the pain climb is going to end.  This climb is no exception - you do not baby your heart rate up this kind of climb!  So we put our heads down and plugged away - the next thing you know, we're at summit - sweet!
Looking West - top of Green
At the summit post - Green Mountain
Panorama from Green Summit

We spent a little time taking in all the views from the summit of Green.  It was an awesome day, but a wee bit hazy making some of the distant skyline a little fuzzy in the pics.  About one third in from the right on the photo above, partially shaded by a cloud, is Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park.  After soaking up some jaw-dropping vistas, it was time to drop in for a big time descent off the saddle of Green Mtn into Bear Canyon.
Steve running a meadow in Bear Canyon
Kathleen high on a ridge in Bear Canyon

While the descent was quite steep at first, the run down through Bear Canyon has very manageable grades and fantastic footing for the terrain we were on.  There were some nice new trails cut in Bear Canyon since we were last there a couple years back.  The new switchbacks made the runouts a little nicer and the overall descending experience much better.  
From Bear Canyon - looking back at the start of our climb

As we ran out the last of Bear Canyon, we had a great overlook to the start of the climb from earlier in the day.  After about 3 miles descending, we dropped out on the service road and had a steep pitch back up to catch Mesa Trail.  After another short climb on Mesa, it was a nice descent all the way to the finish.  No questions, this was a tough outing for a run of its length.  However, there were some killer views and lots of nice trail to go along with the hard work.

Stats: 14 miles, 4400' elevation gain
Shoes - K Saucony Guide Trail
S - Asics Trabuco
After we finished, we got cleaned up quick and headed over to Beaujo's Pizza, a Colorado tradition known for its Mountain Pies and a pizza place that is Gluten-Free friendly.  We inhaled some high quality replacement calories and enjoyed our time chatting about future trail exploits - good times!
Happy Trails to everyone this week!
Related Posts with Thumbnails